The LEGO games have been slowly declining in quality over the years, which is a shame as I loved playing these last gen. With each new game to the franchise came new innovations, new mechanics, and new issues which weren’t seen previously. Thankfully, LEGO DC Super-Villains has revived my love for the LEGO games as it’s included a lot of the new mechanics yet fixed a lot of the issues I had with previous releases!
So, what makes this Suicide Squad meets the Justice League so special and why do I believe Traveller’s Tales have created their best LEGO game in years? Let’s find out…
LEGO DC Super-Villains has a story which is a little confusing but also quite interesting to play though. Our main protagonist this time around is actually a custom creation, which I’ll come to later, who had been caught breaking into a laboratory. Upon discovering that our new Rookie can absorb powers, they’re scheduled to be assigned to Lex Luther for him to watch over and report back on any findings regarding their new skills – in exchange for a reduction in his sentence. Obviously, Lex isn’t happy with this and initiates a breakout, taking the Rookie with him.
Elsewhere, The Joker and Harley Quinn have just stolen an unknown box from Wayne Tech, it looks pretty so Harley was all over it! They make it out alive just in time to see a new band of ‘superhero knock-offs’ from Earth-Three arrive. This new group, known as the Justice Syndicate, take out our infamous villains and are promptly named the victor. That is until Harley sees these new parallel universe beings banish the actual Justice League to unknown locations. Basically, there’s a new Superhero team in town, who look and mimic the real Justice League characters, yet these guys aren’t out to save people.
So, it’s up to our villains to find, save, and group up with the actual Justice League and take down this new threat on Gotham City together. However, there will be lies, backstabbing and a lack of honour as we play through the 15 main game story missions followed by the five Justice League bonus missions.
We all know what you do in a LEGO game, right?! You make your way through a series of missions which are enclosed in cutscenes and travelling through the overworld map. Once within the levels, you proceed to destroy literally anything you see that’s made out of LEGO pieces so you can collect studs (money in this game) and solve simple puzzles such as building items to allow you to get higher, put out fires, knock down walls, or even machines to jump into and operate to fend off enemies. LEGO DC Super-Villains follows the same process with very little changes to the core gameplay elements. Everything we know and love about the LEGO games is present within the latest iteration in the franchise.
However, we see the return of a really cool thing which makes our life much easier when playing the game. When you hold Triangle in the free-play mode to change your character, you have the skill at the bottom of the screen which you can switch between with the shoulder buttons. This highlights all the characters who have a certain skill if you’re having issues finding out who can bypass an obstacle you’re currently at. This was in the LEGO The Incredibles as well and it works perfectly.
We also have the return of a feature I don’t like – Boss health bars. This isn’t as bad as in previous games where they have an actual bar, but you’ll have bosses with four-eight hearts and each time you hit them you’ll take a tiny bit off their health and not a full heart. I liked it when the bosses had a pattern and you had to expose them three or four times in order to smack them and defeat them. Now, the battles drag a little, but nowhere near as much as they did in LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2.
Among the new options is the ability to play in ‘helpful’ mode or not – this is listed as the Rookie and Master Villain modes. What do these do? Well, if you’ve ever played a LEGO game before, you’ll know that the pop-up hints can be rather annoying at times, especially in Lego Marvel Super Heroes when the message about the map would pop up constantly. Rookie mode basically enables all the on-screen prompts and extra guides in-game to help you keep your bearings and proceed easier with more hints and tips. Master mode basically limits this right down and only gives you the odd bit of help here or there. I believe this is the first time a LEGO game has had an option like this.
Surprisingly, this is one of the really popular mechanics which I never really dabbled with yet it’s the one aspect I get all the questions about. When I live streamed myself playing the LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 game a while back, I was asked about 30 times to show them the custom character creation centre and I was blown away by it back then. Gone were the days of just picking a head, body, legs and weapon, you could pick all the visual styles, recolour everything, and even pick different attacks for each button, pick new abilities and sometimes multiple weapons! LEGO DC Super-Villains takes this one step further…
LEGO DC Super-Villains actually begins with a forced custom character creation, this is a first for a mainstream LEGO game and it threw me off a little at first. Just like above, you can pick from a variety of parts, weapons and colours to create your perfect hero. Mine is a guy dressed in Batman PJs who’s equipped with a rather innuendo-looking flesh coloured sausage as a weapon. You only have a few parts to pick from in the beginning, but you unlock tonnes of new pieces as you play through the story which will allow you to customise everything.
Also, the story revolves around this character becoming a Jack of all trades as he absorbs others powers, a bit like Sylar from Heroes. As such, by the end of the game, this one character can do a multitude of tasks like dig, pick up heavy things, shrink, freeze, burn, fly etc… All of these can also be enabled (once unlocked) for any custom character. This means, just like in LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2, you can actually create a guy who is pretty much a one-man-band and overcomes the majority of issues on his own.
Supporting cast and cutscenes:
In relation to our newly created monstrosity, for a LEGO franchise first, the Rookie is actually shown in the majority of the cutscenes. I know this may seem like a small thing, but I thought it was actually quite big seeing as we haven’t seen this happen before. However, we don’t speak throughout the game so Harley does like to tease you about that and gives you a few nicknames when she’s with you.
Speaking of voices though, This is the first time since LEGO Dimensions where voice actors affiliated with the Screen Actors Guild have been taken on board to voice the various characters. Not only does this mean you’ll hear a lot of voices you’ll be familiar with if you’ve watched any DC animated TV show or movie this millennium, but you also see the return of voice actors such as Michael Ironside as Darkseid and Mark Hamill as the Joker. Also, yes – Nolan North also makes an appearance as a few of the characters.
Overall, the voice acting is of AAA standard with all of these amazing actors stepping in to provide their voices. I don’t think I’ve played an all-star cast LEGO game since the early days of vocals in which they simply ripped the audio from the movies. I never used to be a big fan of the talking versions of LEGO games as I grew up playing the speechless ones which relied on visual gags much more as you had no subtitles or language to portray the story – it was all through slapstick and images. However, with the inclusion of a top-notch voice cast, it works perfectly and I really do hope the games continue to use high-quality actors from now on.
One thing that has really bugged me for around 8 years or so is the inclusion of an ‘open world’ map within the LEGO games. They are always confusing, hard to traverse and basically filler to change the game from a 15-20 hour one to a 40+ one based on how much they cram into the space they have. Some games have done it well like LEGO Ninjago which was an open city yet the levels seamlessly were played out within the parts of the city you can walk around. Then some did it poorly like LEGO The Incredibles which had a really poor LoD set up so as you flew around, cars, trees, people, and items would literally pop up right in front of you.
Thankfully, LEGO DC Super-Villains seems to be more towards the good side than bad. Honestly, I’ve not spent a long time in the overworld as the missions were clearly labelled, you can fast travel to them on the map, and I’ve not started my ‘clean up’ process yet. But, from what I’ve seen, it appears fine as it’s a decent size yet not too big and overwhelming. There also doesn’t ‘appear’ to be a million side quests and collect-a-thons to do like there is usually. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 was the worst for that, it had about 10 different fetch quests on top of all the other side missions and fluff. Sometimes more is less…
One thing I will say though, the actual environments, both in and out of missions, are really cool in LEGO DC Super-Villains. The eerie and dark Gotham City looks great, yet the colourful and bright interiors and other planets strike a great contrast. Even though this isn’t a ‘LEGO-made’ game like LEGO Ninjago and the LEGO movie video game, it still looks great. What do I mean by that? In those games, they have built all the buildings and floors as if they are made out of LEGO bricks, in most of the other games the majority of the structures look human-built or like pre-moulded plastic.
As with pretty much every LEGO game, LEGO DC Super-Villains allows you to play locally with two people if you wish. You can play the whole campaign with a friend by your side or simply drop in and out whenever you wish. However, we’ve previously seen actual multiplayer modes in games like LEGO Ninjago and LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 with modes similar to Splatoon and capture the flag, yet it seems Traveller’s Tales don’t include these anymore. It’s a shame as even though they were small distractions, they were quite fun to play.
LEGO DC Super-Villains is visually the best LEGO game I’ve played. From it’s bright contrasting colours to its interesting aesthetics, I really enjoyed playing through the game and seeing where the adventure would take me next. The developers have even incorporated a camera mode where you can take selfies or forward-facing shots and apply a number of filters – my favourite being the colouring-in book style. The sound design and voice acting are perfect. I love the fact they have got so many easily recognisable actors to return and reprise their roles as the various characters as it adds quality and depth to the gameplay.
Also, for the trophy hunters out there, there are four platinums up for grabs this time around! One for each of the regions (EU, NA, AS, JP).
I personally think that LEGO DC Super-Villains is a return to form for the LEGO games and hopefully sparks the continuation of delivering great products in the franchise. Sure, there isn’t a massive difference to any other LEGO game as they all follow the simple structure of missions where you destroy everything followed by free-play and collect all the small items. However, LEGO DC Super-Villains does it a lot better than recent games and delivers a much more enjoyable and tolerable experience for everyone. I’m really liking the ‘original’ games as well, LEGO City Undercover was an amazing original story within the franchise and so is this one. When the team take on licenses to re-enact movies, that’s where I feel they tend to let the quality slip a little.
As I’ve said in my LEGO The Incredibles review, that game felt like it was rushed to come out alongside the movie with the game having you play part two before part one – which made no sense. Also, even though LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 was based on an original story and setting, that one didn’t feel as tight as this one. It’s massive open world felt too overwhelming and distracting, LEGO DC Super-Villains seems to have hit the perfect balance for me.
So, If I was to put all 13 of this generation’s LEGO games in an order of what I liked, LEGO DC Super-Villains would sit proudly on the top.
LEGO DC Super-Villains is more of the same yet more polished and all-around better in every way. From it’s iconic visuals and gameplay to the inclusion of new aspects such as creating a character to appear in the cutscenes, it shows that the developers have really taken their time with this game and made it with a lot of care and passion. The voice acting is among the best I’ve heard – this lends itself to the fact that the majority of the voice actors are reprising their roles from the various DC animations such as Mark Hamill.
If you’re looking for a mindless game in which you can smash everything and have fun without concentrating too hard, LEGO DC Super-Villains is for you. If you like LEGO games, this game will not disappoint.
LEGO DC Super-Villains£49.99
- More of the same, only better!
- Amazing voice acting with original actors from the animated shows and films reprising their roles
- About 12-15 hours of story missions plus 3-5 hours of bonus missions + all the replay time to collect everything
- Visually one of the best looking LEGO games
- The humour is cranked up thanks to the Joker and Harley Quinn. It's like old-school non-verbal slapstick comedy but with voices
- I'm still not a fan of Bosses having life bars
- The flying mechanic is still a pain as with all LEGO games
- Some levels are a bit confusing in terms of what to do
- No dedicated MP modes anymore